Virtual Forest (version 2)

a new start

A couple of years ago I started the Virtual Forest project at Harvard Forest, outside Boston (USA). This project became a success with coverage in online at Vice and in print in the MIT technology review.

Recently, I was contacted to present some of this work online in a virtual meeting on the use of virtual / telepresence technology in teaching biology and ecology. Together with the persistent requirements of people to confne themselves due to COVID I thought it would be fun to restart this old project. I’m aware that this is a far cry from an actual hike in the forest, but now more than ever it might provide an escape still.

I collaborated with colleagues at Ghent University (providing a spot at the experimental forest) and gathered support from the INRAE and the Marie-Curie actions to revive the project. The result is that once more a 360 degree camera will stream live images of an experimental forest every half hour.

As this project is hosted at a research site viewers can watch researchers do their work throughout the year as well as enjoy seasonal changes in the forest. Guest blog posts will briefly explain what is going on if there is lots of activity, or noteworthy events in the forest. I hope the project sparks your interest, and you revisit on occasion to check up on the trees and ongoing research.

Koen Hufkens, PhD
Ecologist, Researcher

As an earth system scientist and ecologist I model ecosystem processes.